Year in Review: Black Hair in 2016


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I think it’s safe to say that we’re all ready for 2016 to take a hike. This has definitely been a roller coaster of a year. Before we kick 2016 to the curb, let’s take a moment to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly events of this year in Black Hair.

Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair”

Don’t touch my hair. When it’s the feelings I wear. Don’t touch my soul. When it’s the rhythm I know. Don’t touch my crown. They say the vision I’ve found…

#BlackGirlMagic was on a high this year. Beyonce’s “Formation” at the top of year became every Black Girl’s Anthem. Later in the year, Solange released her album “A Seat at My Table” which is filled with messages of Black pride and self love. The song “Don’t Touch My Hair” from the album also became every Black Girl’s Anthem, especially those of us that experience random White people strangers that feel that they can touch our hair without permission.

Supreme Court Legalizes Discrimination Against Locs in the Workplace
Black Hair in all it’s beauty and versatility, is also a political statement that when worn represents a revolution for Black Women to embrace their own beauty in a world that encourages assimilation to societal beauty standards. In the Natural Hair Community, texturism is very prevalent. However, a lot of the negativity stems from centuries of systemic oppression. That pressure for assimilation became even more clear when the Supreme Court made it legal for employers to discriminate against prospective and current employees with Locs. This is really a thing in 2016? We live in a world where other people can police how you choose to wear your own hair. Not only are Locs a style, but is a sacred religious and cultural expression for many people. As much progress that has been done for civil rights, this ruling was definitely a step backwards.

Pretoria High School Protest for Natural Hair

“Why am I fighting to be African in Africa? Why must I apologize for being African in Africa? If you can’t be Black in Africa, where are we expected to be Black?” via NPR
Tiisetso Phetla, Graduate of Pretoria High School for Girls in South Africa

Students at the Pretorial High School for Girls in South Africa started protests against the school’s policy that call for conservative hairstyles over eccentric/fashion hairstyles. The policy subtly bans styles that are usually worn by Black girls such as Afros. Not only have students been reprimanded for wearing certain hairstyles, but there have been incidents where students were told not to use their native language in or outside of the classroom and some have allegedly been called monkeys by the school’s staff. An investigation into the allegations took place and revealed that these allegations were in fact true. The school has since apologized and the discriminatory policies and acts have been suspended and prohibited respectively.

Black Hair: Year in Review 2016
SheaMoisture Relaunches Madame C.J. Walker line
Madam C.J. Walker was America’s first woman self-made millionaire. Her contributions to the Black Beauty industry is undeniable. I was especially excited to see SheaMoisture create the Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture hair care line which is their first prestigious line in February of this year. The hair care line contains four lines that are enriched with high quality natural products and is sold exclusively at Sephora.

Women sue L’Oreal over Softsheen Carson Optimum Amla Legend Relaxer
A class action lawsuit filed in September against L’Oreal for $5 million claims that the Softsheen Carson Optimum Amla Legend Relaxer caused hair loss, scalp blisters and burns, and hair breakage. Traditional No-Lye Relaxers usually require mixing the creme base and liquid activator to activate the product. The Amla Legend Relaxer doesn’t require mixing at all. This lawsuit is still ongoing and is now calling for the product to be recalled.

Marc Jacobs, Cultural Appropriation
We all know what cultural appropriation is and if you don’t look here. Every year, this topic seems to make its way onto this list. This year, Marc Jacobs took the crown when he sent predominantly White models down the runway during New York Fashion Week with faux locs. This is problematic for many reasons including that it’s now legal for people with locs to be discriminated against in the workplace and he didn’t give credit to the Black culture that influenced his decision. The biggest slap in the face was when Marc Jacobs called out Black women for wearing blonde hair. Bruh! Appropriation is not the same as assimilation; Moreover, White people are not the only race that can have natural blonde hair. Have several seats.

Black Hair: Year in Review 2016
Jackie Aina Reaches a Million Subscribers
Many Black Youtubers find it hard to see subscriber growth on Youtube. Very few have made it to a million subscribers and it’s lesser for those that are not racially ambiguous. Many were happy to see popular beauty Youtuber Jackie Aina reached a million subscribers earlier this week. Aina is a Los Angeles based makeup artist and licensed cosmetologist. What makes her special is that she gives great makeup advice and makes beauty and tutorials for women of color. I especially love her personality and fearless approach on topics of cultural appropriation and more inclusion for women of color in the beauty industry. Congratulations Jackie!!!

What other events in Black Hair do you remember from this year? Comment below.

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4 Responses

  1. Sherifa says:

    I love this review!

  2. Patricia says:

    Hi ! We could mention 3 model who rocked their natural hair in this year Victoria’s secret runway show.

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